In late 2021, Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) was awarded over €640,000 in funding to address educational disadvantage. This funding was allocated by SOLAS to CMETB as part of The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF).
The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF) aims to address educational disadvantage which may be experienced by learners and has a particular focus on supporting the engagement/re-engagement of learners in the community. This initiative aims to reduce barriers to participation in Further Education & Training (FET) by facilitating wider access to digital technologies, equipment and materials. The grants will help to break down many barriers to learning – such as a lack of devices like laptops or someone not having the connectivity to study online.
Speaking at the time of the award, Linda Pinkster, Director of Further Education & Training said:
“The MAEDF funding, and associated projects, will be of great support and benefit to learners, community & voluntary groups and those hardest to reach. Ultimately, it will enable those who are disadvantaged or isolated to engage in education and provide platforms for greater participation
A total of 31 Community groups and services in Cavan & Monaghan received grants under the MAEDF and have worked to implement their projects.”
On Monday 31st January 2022, the Chairperson of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB), Cllr. Colm Carthy was delighted to visit community groups in the region stating:
‘‘This week, I had the great pleasure of meeting a number of community groups and service providers throughout counties Cavan and Monaghan who have benefited from funding administered by CMETB. As the current Cathaoirleach of Cavan & Monaghan Education and Training Board it was great to witness, first-hand, the impact our support has on the communities we serve.
I got to see where Youth Capital, MAEDF and Community Grants funding was going towards bringing dereliction back into use and where unused buildings were being brought back to life. I met with our older citizens who have embraced technology and have brought it into their social lives through group activities and learning. I spoke with service providers who are now in a position to train others in how to deal with the needs of their clients and support our most vulnerable in society. I also witnessed the power of small ideas growing into large projects by the will of volunteers who continue to fight to give the next generation the best start in life.
We are blessed in both Cavan and Monaghan to have citizens who give so much of their time and effort in improving services for the people around them. As a result of funding streams like the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund, for example, we now have groups offering IT training and support to people who, only a few months ago, would have struggled to use a mobile phone. We have increased access to services for vulnerable adults and children and are working with stakeholders throughout the constituency to ensure that these vital services are retained and, where possible, expanded and improved.
One of the comments made to me at each location we visited was the support offered to applicants from our team in CMETB headquarters and I want to pay special mention to our FET team led out by Dr. Linda Pinkster, Maureen McIntyre Youth Development and Wellbeing Officer and Deirdre Byrne Adult Education Officer , who have streamlined our application processes. They have been instrumental in simplifying the process for volunteers, youth and community groups and service providers and, in doing so, have encouraged more and more people to seek the support of CMETB in recent years.’
From my part, and on behalf of the Board, I want to commend the staff of CMETB for their continuous hard work. I would also like to thank our community groups, our volunteers and service providers throughout both counties for their hugely positive contributions.’’
Maureen McIntyre, Youth Development and Wellbeing Officer in CMETB also spoke of the visits:
‘’It was a truly wonderful experience to meet with each group in their hub and hear about all the great work delivered to communities. CMETB is delighted to be able to support this work through the funding we administer and we look forward to working alongside groups in ensuring all barriers are identified and removed, so that access to education is equal for all’’.